AT THE END of what is widely seen as one of the best hurling championships, Joe Canning says the three-week break between the All-Ireland final and replay is “dragging out” the finish.
But the Portumna ace agrees that a replay is a better way of settling the stalemate than deciding it on the day with extra time.
After their thrilling draw last weekend, Cork and Clare meet again on 28 September for what is set to be the first All-Ireland final played under floodlights.
It will also be the first Saturday decider since the 2000 football replay between Kerry and Galway, a decision taken because Croke Park is fully booked with the camogie and ladies football finals a week either side of the senior football final between Dublin and Mayo.
It was Canning’s late point that earned Galway a replay against Kilkenny last September — the first time that the hurling final finished in a draw since 1959.
Having experienced the three-week break himself, he feels it will be mentally tough on both Cork and Clare.
“I think a replay for a final is good for… well it’s good for Croke Park anyway,” Canning said yesterday.
“I suppose it’s good for supporters too to extend the championship that extra few weeks when you are still involved.
“The next weekend would be ideal or even the weekend after but obviously that can’t happen.
Three weeks is just dragging it out too much. It’s not a physical thing at all. Lads are going to be fit. [It's] how they deal with it mentally and I suppose mental fatigue more so than anything, trying to build yourself up mentally for the game and have people talking to you.
The GAA expect to net €1.5 million from the replay and despite complaints about the day, time and cost to supporters, Canning says it’s still the best way to settle a drawn final.
“If you were coming back into it, maybe you would like extra time; if you were leading the whole time and got caught at the end, maybe the replay. You can look at it all different ways.
“Extra time for a final, I don’t think it’s the way to go.”
Canning with Clare captain Paul Flanagan and Antrim captain Jackson McGreevy (INPHO/James Crombie)
Before thoughts turn to the replay a handful of Clare’s senior stars — including David McInerney, Colm Galvin, Podge Collins and Tony Kelly — have to prepare for Saturday’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U21 final against Antrim.
Rather than disrupt their preparations it will be a welcome distraction, Canning says.
“It is very difficult mentally more than anything to come down and play an All-Ireland. You are going into it thinking you are going to win or lose. You never really think of the draw.
It will be a welcome distraction for the Clare lads. It would be difficult for the Cork lads to try to pass the time as quickly as possible because those three weeks go the slowest ever.